play (one's) cards well

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play (one's) cards well

To act adeptly and with good judgment; to make the best and most effective use of the resources at one's disposal. Well Mr. Smith, the bosses have been impressed with your work so far. If you keep playing your cards well, you could see a promotion inside of a year. I'm really hoping Janet will agree to go on a second date, but I'll have to play my cards well tonight!
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